Corona Round-Up: Vaccines prove successful against cluster-5 mutation in rabbits

The cluster-5 mutation may be less threatening than was feared, with early vaccine trials successful and chief experts downplaying concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine developed by the State Serum Institute has proven to be successful in combating the cluster-5 mutation in rabbits.

The cluster-5 strain, originating from mink farms, caused the panic that led to lockdown restrictions in north Jutland and government calls for up to 17 million mink to be destroyed – a move which may now see ministers forced to resign.

READ ALSO: Danish coronavirus vaccine gets financial backing

Big step in the right direction
However, early success with vaccine testing spells out hope for the future.

“Of course, there’s a big difference between rabbits and people” said virus researcher Anders Fomsgaard.

“But the results of these tests are a step in the right direction towards a universal vaccine.”

American experts don’t see cluster-5 as a threat to vaccines
The top virus expert in the US, Anthony Fauci, has said that he sees little chance of the mink coronavirus mutation impacting the effectiveness of any COVID-19 vaccine. This announcement may spell doom for the Danish government, which made what appears to have been a legally-baseless demand for mink-farmers across the country to destroy their animals. Anthony Fauci is one of the most senior immunologists in the US and has become the face of the country’s battle against the coronavirus.

EU-report calls for further research into the impact of mink-mutations
In yet a further blow, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has also concluded that it’s too early to say whether mutations from Danish mink farms present any threat to vaccine efforts. The agency said that there isn’t sufficient data to determine whether cluster-5 or other mutations could have any negative effect on a vaccine – and that further research is needed.

Head of State Serum Institute to retire
Kåre Mølbak, the executive vice president at SSI and face of Denmark’s response to the coronavirus, will be retiring on January 31. He has worked at the institute for nearly 38 years and says that retirement has been in his sights for some time now. His tasks will be taken over by the new director Henrik Ullum, alongside Tyra Grove Krause: head of department for infection epidemiology and prevention.

Parties accuse health ministry of undermining democracy
Too much power has been given to health ministers during the coronavirus pandemic, according to parties across the entire Parliament – with the exception of government party Socialdemokratiet. Critics object to the fact that the health minister alone holds the power to define an illness as critical to the community, thereby unlocking a range of political power without Parliament agreement. Pia Olsen Dyhr of Socialistisk Folkeparti has pointed to the ‘epidemilov’ (epidemic law) that was quickly passed on March 12, one day after the country went into lockdown, arguing that it has created precedents that must now be debated in order to preserve Denmark’s democratic foundation.

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